CommScope and Corning are investing a combined nearly $550 million to in manufacturing facilities for the fiber optic cables designed to help close the digital divide, the U.S. Commerce Department announced today.
CommScope will be making an additional $47 million investment towards expanding its U.S. fiber optic cable manufacturing, including its facility in Catawba NC, which is already the largest hybrid-fiber-coax facility for broadband networks in the world. The company said this facility will produce a new fiber optic cable that is specifically designed for rural areas.
Corning will be expanding its U.S. manufacturing capacity with the opening of its manufacturing campus near Hickory, NC. The company has also formed a partnership with NTCA – The Rural Broadband Association – to dedicate a portion of the cable manufactured at its facility to small, rural providers and co-ops that will connect Americans across the country.
NTCA CEO Shirley Bloomfield announced plans for Corning to reserve fiber for NTCA members at the association’s RTIME conference in February.
The investment builds on the more than $500 million that Corning has invested in fiber and cable manufacturing since 2020. The most recent planned Corning expansion is for its Arizona facility.
“We have a tremendous opportunity not just to close the digital divide for millions of Americans, but also to revitalize domestic manufacturing industry, make more products and technologies in America, and create good manufacturing jobs here in Hickory and across the country,” U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo said in a prepared statement.
The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) is working to address the digital divide through $48 billion in grant programs to expand high-speed Internet access by funding planning, infrastructure deployment and adoption programs across the country, the U.S. Commerce Department added.